Israel and Europe’s shared anti-semitism [Jonathan Cook: the blog from Nazareth]
18 December 2014
Here’s a telling comment from the leader of a Swedish far-right party that throws a little light on the real reason early last century the great colonial power of the time, Britain, sponsored – through the Balfour Declaration – Israel’s creation.
Bjorn Soder, leader of the Sweden Democrats party, has demanded that Jews drop their Jewish identity and assimilate if they want to live as Swedish citizens…
…Here’s what he says to critics who accuse him of being anti-semitic: “Those who know me when it comes to Jews know I have long had a very strong commitment to both the state of Israel and the Jewish people.”
I don’t think he’s being disingenuous here. This attitude towards Jews was one common in Europe last century (and, as we shall see, lingers to this day, especially among Israel’s supporters).
Soder’s concerns were shared by the European elites of the time, including the British cabinet ministers who devised the Balfour Declaration. Britain’s solution was to encourage Jews to migrate from Europe to the Middle East. To export the “problem”, as they saw it, to the colonies. Other European leaders, most notably Adolf Hitler, would eventually settle on a more extreme solution: the genocide of the Jews in Europe.
In other words, the logic of Israel’s creation and of the extermination of the Jews was intimately related – flipsides of the same deep-seated European racism. Both assumed that Jews were unassimilable, potentially disloyal outsiders who needed either to be expelled or to be killed.
The Zionists both exploited this racism for their own ends (the creation of a Jewish state) and mirrored it, adopting the same ideas as the racists of an identifiable Jewish nation (identified through blood or religion) and one that needed to live apart from other nations.
Zionism, the movement for creating a Jewish state and one that succeeded only when it agreed that such a state would be built on the Palestinians’ homeland, precisely depended on claims of chosen-ness and Biblical entitlement to territory. Where Europe’s racists believed the Jews should be contained or quarantined in the Middle East, the Zionists believed the Jews should create an ethnically pure national fortress.
This is why the idea invented by Israel of a “new anti-semitism” – one distinguishable from historical anti-semitism because it supposedly infects only the left and is marked by criticism of Israel – is so laughable. The true anti-semites have always been the devoted followers of the Zionist movement, the Israeli elites and their many diehard friends in European capitals.
Soder and his tinpot racists are small fry compared to that crowd.
Edited by Zuo Shou
Related article: “Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia” [Workers World] — http://www.workers.org/articles/2015/01/26/anti-semitism-and-islamophobia/